Michael Phelps

Michael Fred Phelps (born June 30, 1985) is an American professional swimmer. He has won 14 career Olympic gold medals, the most by any Olympian. As of July 9, 2009, Phelps holds eight world records in swimming.

Phelps holds the record for the most gold medals at a single Olympics, his eight at the 2008 Beijing Games surpassing American swimmer Mark Spitz's seven-gold performance at Munich in 1972.

Overall, Phelps has won 16 Olympic medals: six gold and two bronze at Athens in 2004, and eight gold at Beijing in 2008. In doing so he has twice equaled the record eight medals of any type at a single Olympics achieved by Soviet gymnast Alexander Dityatin at the 1980 Moscow Summer Games. His five golds in individual events tied the single Games record set by Eric Heiden in the 1980 Winter Olympics and equaled by Vitaly Scherbo at the 1992 Summer Games. Phelps career Olympic medal total is second only to the 18 Soviet gymnast Larissa Latynina won over three Olympics, including nine gold.

Phelps's international titles and record breaking performances have earned him the World Swimmer of the Year Award in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2008 and American Swimmer of the Year Award in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2008. He has won a total of 48 career medals thus far in major international competition, forty gold, six silver, and two bronze spanning the Olympics, the World, and the Pan Pacific Championships. His unprecedented Olympic success in 2008 earned Phelps Sports Illustrated magazine's Sportsman of the Year award.

Personal Life

Phelps was born and raised in the Rodgers Forge area of Baltimore, Maryland. He graduated from Towson High School in 2003.[2] His father, Fred Phelps, worked for the Maryland State Police and his mother, Deborah Sue "Debbie" Davisson Phelps, is a middle school principal.[2][3] The two divorced in 1994.[2] Michael, whose nickname is "MP", has two older sisters, Whitney and Hilary.[2][3] Both of them were swimmers as well, with Whitney coming close to making the U.S. national team for the 1996 Summer Olympics before injuries derailed her career.[4]

In his youth, Phelps was diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).[2] He started swimming at age seven, partly because of the influence of his sisters and partly to provide him with an outlet for his energy. He excelled as a swimmer, and by the age of 10 held a national record for his age group. More age group records followed, and Phelps's rapid improvement culminated in his qualifying for the 2000 Summer Olympics at the age of 15.[5]

In November 2004, at the age of 19, Phelps was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in Salisbury, Maryland. He pleaded guilty to driving while impaired the following month and was granted probation before judgment and ordered to serve 18 months' probation, fined $250, obligated to speak to high school students about drinking and driving and had to attend a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) meeting.[6][7] Questioned about the incident later that month by Matt Lauer on the Today Show, Phelps said it was an "isolated incident" and that he had "definitely let myself down and my family down ... I think I let a lot of people in the country down."[2]

Between 2004 and 2008, Phelps attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, studying sports marketing and management.[8] In May 2008, Phelps announced his intention to return to Baltimore following the 2008 Olympics, joining Bob Bowman there after leaving the University of Michigan, saying, "I'm not going to swim for anybody else. I think we can both help the North Baltimore Aquatic Club go further. I'm definitely going to be in Baltimore next year." Bowman left the University of Michigan to become the club's CEO.[9] Phelps purchased a house in the Fells Point section of Baltimore, where he has resided since the 2008 Summer Olympics